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This scandal should be investigated – and it’s not Russiagate

Special Counsel should look into the conduct of the US intelligence community and how it sought to swing the election to Hillary Clinton and away from Donald Trump

Alexander Mercouris

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In my last article on Russiagate I made known my continued doubts that the bureaucracy in Washington would ever agree to the wide-ranging investigation of the events of the US Presidential election which is now pressing.

To be clear, this investigation must go beyond Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s current narrow investigation into the allegations of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

Sixteen months after those claims first began to be investigated no evidence of such collusion has been found outside of the Trump Dossier, which even its compiler Christopher Steele now admits is not completely accurate (he now says it is “70-90% accurate”).

Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russian ambassador Kislyak, Jeff Sessions’s two meetings with Russian ambassador Kislyak, Jared Kushner’s meeting with Russian ambassador Kislyak (which as it turns out was misreported), Donald Trump Junior’s meeting with the Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, Carter Page’s various activities, and the indictments of Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos, do not provide evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.  On the contrary they evidence that no such collusion took place.

I am in full agreement with the independent blogger Caitlin Johnstone  that if any illegal collusion had taken place evidence for it would have been found long ago.

What the evidence points to is – as Jared Kushner has admitted – a chaotic and disorganised Trump campaign, incapable of carrying out any sort of secret or illegal collusion not just with the Russians but with anyone, with unpaid and junior staffers like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page amateurishly attempting – in one case enthusiastically, in the second case calculatedly – to do foreign policy with Russia all by themselves, without receiving guidance or encouragement from the Trump campaign.

Nothing those people who were genuinely close to Trump  – eg. Manafort, Flynn, Kushner, Sessions and Donald Trump Junior – did during the campaign looks to me wrong or improper.

By contrast, whilst there is no evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians, and no prospect of anyone finding such evidence, there is now abundant evidence that the US intelligence community, the Justice Department and the FBI were pulling out the stops during the election to help Hillary Clinton.  Consider:

(1) The FBI took it on itself to announce that there would be no prosecution of Hillary Clinton’s misuse of her private email server whilst Secretary of State, despite this being illegal and despite her wilful destruction of thousands of her emails which passed through her server.

This happened following a conversation between Bill Clinton – Hillary Clinton’s husband – and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which former FBI Director James Comey admits was improper.

The decision not to proceed to a prosecution was moreover announced by former FBI Director James Comey in a manner which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the Justice Department admit was also improper.

(2) The FBI did not undertake its own independent forensic investigation of the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers following Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s complaints of Russian hacking of those computers.

Instead it accepted Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s assertion that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, even though this assertion is based on nothing more than the opinion of a private expert – Crowdstrike – which was paid to provide its opinion by the DNC.

Having accepted Hillary Clinton’s, the DNC’s and John Podesta’s assertion that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s and John Podesta’s computers, the FBI thereafter did none of the things which a proper investigation of the hacking claims would have required..

The FBI did not for example insist on on being given access to the computers or seek a warrant to obtain possession of the computers; nor did the FBI draw any inference from the refusal of the DNC and John Podesta to allow it access to their computers; nor did the FBI interview any of the relevant witnesses, such as the staff of the DNC, Julian Assange, Craig Murray and the staff of Wikileaks.

(3) As Joe Lauria has pointed out, there is now compelling evidence that the original allegations of illegal collusion by the Trump campaign with the Russians originate with the Trump Dossier, which it has now been confirmed was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

There is now also compelling evidence that it was the ‘information’ in this Dossier which was used to obtain FISA warrants which led to the surveillance of Paul Manafort and Carter Page and possibly of others during the election campaign.

Since the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community refuse to discuss the Trump Dossier publicly, or the extent of their reliance on it, and will not say what evidence was provided to the FISA court to obtain the FISA warrants, it is not known whether the FISA court was told when the FISA warrants were applied for that the information upon which the applications were  based apparently originated in a Dossier paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

(4) Though the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community have presumably known from the outset that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, Trump was not told this when as President elect he was first shown the Dossier by former FBI Director Comey during the meeting between Trump and the intelligence chiefs on 6th January 2017.

Though the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community have presumably known from the outset that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, they did not disclose this important fact either to the American people or to Congressional investigators, with this key fact only becoming known in the last few weeks as a result of the enquiries of the Congressional investigators.

Nor do the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community seem to have drawn any inferences from the fact that the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign wanted to keep their role in paying for the Trump Dossier secret.

I would add that if the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community did not in fact know that the Trump Dossier was paid for by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign, then that would prove a grossly incompetent and biased investigation.

It ought to be the first order of business when considering ‘evidence’ of the sort purportedly provided by the Trump Dossier to find out who had paid for it.  It would beg a host of questions if this was not done.

(6) The use of FISA warrants to undertake surveillance of persons involved in the Trump campaign during the election to an extent which has still not been fully disclosed was anyway inherently abusive.

FISA is not supposed to be used to carry out surveillance of US citizens.  Rather it is supposed to be used to enable surveillance of the agents of foreign powers.  That is why its full title is Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”).

In this case all the safeguards seem to have been thrown to the winds.  Though it is legally possible to undertake ‘incidental surveillance’ of US citizens caught by surveillance carried out under FISA warrants (so called “warrantless surveillance”) in this case there seems to be little doubt that Manafort and Carter Page were actually specifically targeted.

Former FBI Director Comey moreover admitted to President Trump – and it has been admitted repeatedly since – that Trump himself is not the target of the Russiagate investigation, and it is denied that he was ever a surveillance target.

Given that this is so why was it necessary to place anyone under surveillance at all?  Why did the Justice Department, the FBI and the US intelligence community not simply inform Trump during the election that there were serious concerns about the activities of some members of his campaign and invite him to take the necessary action?

Why instead of taking that obvious – and obviously appropriate – step which might have led to the individuals in question being removed from the campaign – was a campaign of secret surveillance undertaken instead?

Was it because the true intention was not to protect the integrity of the election but rather to undertake secret surveillance of the Trump campaign in the hope that this would unearth something which could be used either to prevent Donald Trump being elected or to provide grounds for his impeachment if he was elected?

(7) Just a few weeks before the election the US intelligence community published a fact-free and tortuously worded statement alleging Russian meddling in the election by implication on Donald Trump’s behalf.

Why was that done instead of the step discussed in (6) given that releasing a statement of that kind would clearly have an influence on the outcome of the election and might therefore constitute a violation of the Hatch Act (former FBI Director Comey refused to sign it for precisely that reason)?

(8) After the election members of the US intelligence community leaked to the media classified details of a secretly recorded conversation between Michael Flynn – President elect Trump’s pick for National Security Adviser – and Russian ambassador Kislyak.

As has been admitted, nothing inappropriate was actually said during this conversation.  However the leak of details of this conversation was used to force Michael Flynn to resign.

As was pointed out at the time, and as has been pointed out since, and as has never in fact been denied, the leaking of the classified details of this conversation in a way that identified Michael Flynn was a serious criminal offence under the FISA act.

That fact does not however seem to have weighed on those within the US intelligence community who leaked this information or on their superiors.  To date no-one appears to have been punished or prosecuted for it.

In any properly functioning democracy all of the above ought to be a cause of very serious concern.

It is very bad if during an election members of a campaign illegally conspire with a foreign power in order to win the election.  However – to repeat again – there is no evidence that during the 2016 election that actually took place.

It is however arguably even worse when the intelligence and security agencies of a country interfere in the conduct of an election in order to swing the outcome of the election from one candidate to another.

It becomes a matter of still greater concern if the intelligence and security agencies of that country act in concert with the party of the defeated candidate that they supported to orchestrate a media campaign vilifying the candidate they opposed because despite their efforts he won the election, and conduct a bogus investigation of phoney collusion allegations in order to put pressure on him and to discredit him and in order to conceal their own activities.

In such a situation one must question whether the country where such things are happening is any longer a democracy at all.

This however is the extremely dangerous situation in which the American Republic now finds itself.

The need for someone to look into all of this and to find out what really happened during the 2016 election would appear to be obvious.

I would add that it is by no means impossible that serious criminal offences were committed over the course of the election, which because of the diversion of time and resources into investigating the phoney Trump campaign/Russian collusion allegations are not being investigated.

These could include all or any of the following:

(1) Possible obstruction of justice arising from Hillary Clinton’s destruction of 30,000 emails which passed through her private email server;

(2) Obstruction of justice arising from the DNC’s refusal to allow the FBI access to its computers;

(3) Violations of constitutional provisions in the event that the FISA warrants were improperly used and obtained;

(4) Violations of the Hatch Act, which specifically prohibits any US government official from

[using] his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election

(5) last but by no means least, the straightforward and indisputable crime of the leaking of classified information to force the resignation of Michael Flynn.

The above list of possible crimes is not intended to be exhaustive.  Other crimes may have been committed as well.  I am not in a position to say.  An investigator commissioned to look into this affair might however find more.

Of course if there was collusion between the Democrats and the US intelligence community which led to any one of the above crimes being committed then that would be a very serious matter indeed.  The US would then have a serious constitutional crisis on its hands.  However it is important to say that at the moment there is no evidence of this.

However enough is already known about what went on during the 2016 election to give rise to very serious concerns.  Loud alarm bells ought to be ringing.  It is alarming that they are not or if they are that people seem to be deaf to them.

The problem is that far too many important people are compromised by this affair, making it completely unsurprising that calls for the appointment of another Special Counsel to look into their activities is running into fierce resistance.

Thus in Congressional testimony Attorney General Sessions appeared to push back on suggestions that another Special Counsel should be appointed, whilst a meeting between CIA Director Mike Pompeo and William Binney, the former NSA official behind the recent VIPS report which has cast doubt on the Russian hacking claims, seems to have resulted in nothing.

Nonetheless the proposal for the appointment of another Special Counsel is now out in the open, though in my opinion some of its advocates are not helping matters by asking that the new Special Counsel be instructed to look into the Uranium One case.  Whilst there may be a scandal buried deep inside that tangled case, it has no connection to the 2016 election, which is where the focus of any expanded investigation by Special Counsel should lie.

As I have attempted to show in this article, there is actually a huge amount connected to the 2016 election for a Special Counsel to look into.  If another Special Counsel is ever appointed – and the job calls for a top constitutional law expert such as a Supreme Court Justice, not a former police investigator like Mueller – he or she will have their hands full, and should not be burdened with a sideshow like Uranium One.

I will not pretend that I have any very great hopes that such a Special Counsel will be appointed.  On the contrary the odds are heavily against it.

However anyone who genuinely cares about the future of democracy in the US ought to be demanding it.

Since there are still such people in the US, I for one am not yet willing to give up hope.  Presumably there are still people in America who remember that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

Message from The Duran: If you like this article then please consider supporting our Crowdfunding campaign.  We depend on your support to continue to provide you with articles like this one.

 

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Media meltdown hits stupid levels as Trump and Putin hold first summit (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 58.

Alex Christoforou

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It was, and still remains a media meltdown of epic proportions as that dastardly ‘traitor’ US President Donald Trump decided to meet with that ‘thug’ Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Of course these are the simplistic and moronic epitaphs that are now universally being thrown around on everything from Morning Joe to Fox and Friends.

Mainstream media shills, and even intelligent alternative news political commentators, are all towing the same line, “thug” and “traitor”, while no one has given much thought to the policy and geo-political realities that have brought these two leaders together in Helsinki.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou provide some real news analysis of the historic Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, without the stupid ‘thug’ and ‘traitor’ monikers carelessly being thrown around by the tools that occupy much of the mainstream media. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

And if you though that one summit between Putin and Trump was more than enough to send the media into code level red meltdown, POTUS Trump is now hinting (maybe trolling) at a second Putin summit.

Via Zerohedge

And cue another ‘meltdown’ in 3…2…1…

While arguments continue over whether the Helsinki Summit was a success (end of Cold War 2.0) or not (most treasonous president ever), President Trump is convinced “The Summit was a great success,” and hints that there will be a second summit soon, where they will address: “stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more.”

However, we suspect what will ‘trigger’ the liberal media to melt down is his use of the Stalin-esque term “enemy of the people” to describe the Fake News Media once again…

 

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While US seeks to up the ante on pressure on the DPRK, Russia proposes easing sanctions

These proposals show the dichotomy between the philosophy of US and Russian foreign policy

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The United States last week accused the DPRK of violating refined petroleum caps imposed as a part of UN nuclear sanctions dating back to 2006, and is therefore submitting a proposal to cut all petroleum product sales to North Korea.

The Trump administration is keen on not only preserving pressure on North Korea over its nuclear arms development, but in increasing that pressure even as DPRK Chairman, Kim Jong-Un, is serially meeting with world leaders in a bid to secure North Korea’s security and potential nuclear disarmament, a major move that could deescalate tensions in the region, end the war with the South, and ease global apprehensions about the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, Russia is proposing to the UNSC sanctions relief in some form due to the North’s expressed commitment to nuclear disarmament in the light of recent developments.

Reuters reports:

MOSCOW/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia’s envoy to North Korea said on Wednesday it would be logical to raise the question of easing sanctions on North Korea with the United Nations Security Council, as the United States pushes for a halt to refined petroleum exports to Pyongyang.

“The positive change on the Korean peninsula is now obvious,” said the ambassador, Alexander Matsegora, according to the RIA news agency, adding that Russia was ready to help modernize North Korea’s energy system if sanctions were lifted and if Pyongyang can find funding for the modernization.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

China tried late last month to get the Security Council to issue a statement praising the June 12 Singapore meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and expressing its “willingness to adjust the measures on the DPRK in light of the DPRK’s compliance with the resolutions.”

North Korea’s official name is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

But the United States blocked the statement on June 28 given “ongoing and very sensitive talks between the United States and the DPRK at this time,” diplomats said. The same day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi about the importance of sanctions enforcement.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to informally brief U.N. Security Council envoys along with South Korea and Japan on Friday.

Diplomats say they expect Pompeo to stress the need to maintain pressure on North Korea during his briefing on Friday.

In a tweet on Wednesday Trump said he elicited a promise from Russian President Vladimir Putin to help negotiate with North Korea but did not say how. He also said: “There is no rush, the sanctions remain!”

The United States accused North Korea last week of breaching a U.N. sanctions cap on refined petroleum by making illicit transfers between ships at sea and demanded an immediate end to all sales of the fuel.

The United States submitted the complaint to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, which is due to decide by Thursday whether it will tell all U.N. member states to halt all transfers of refined petroleum to Pyongyang.

Such decisions are made by consensus and some diplomats said they expected China or Russia to delay or block the move.

When asked on June 13 about whether sanctions should be loosened, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said: “We should be thinking about steps in that direction because inevitably there is progress on the track that should be reciprocal, that should be a two-way street. The other side should see encouragement to go forward.”

The proposals of both the United States and Russia are likely to be vetoed by each other, resulting no real changes, but what it displays is the foreign policy positions of both nuclear powers towards the relative position of the DPRK and its rhetorical move towards denuclearization. The US demonstrates that its campaign of increased pressure on the North is necessary to accomplishing the goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, while Russia’s philosophy on the matter is to show a mutual willingness to follow through on verbal commitment with a real show of action towards an improved relationship, mirroring on the ground what is happening in politics.

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Europe divided over possible trade compromise with Trump

Even if a European proposal could score a trade cease fire, the war isn’t over

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US President Donald Trump has just lectured NATO on it member’s commitment performance and held a controversial meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin and is next week to receive EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with trade matters being high up on the agenda.

Juncker is expected to present Trump with a package of proposals to help smooth relations and potentially heal areas of division, particularly those surrounding Europe’s trade relationship with America. Those proposals are precisely what is cropping up as another area of divergence between some members of the EU, specifically France and Germany, just after a major contention on migration has been driving discord within the Union.

This gets down to whether Europe should offer concessions to Trump on trade while Trump is admittedly describing the Union as a ‘foe’ and has initiated a trade spat with the Union by assessing trade tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, spurring retaliatory tariff measures from the EU Commission.

France, specifically, is opposed to any sort of compromise with Trump on the matter, where Trump is perceived as an opponent to the Union and its unity, whereas Germany is economically motivated to seek an end to the trade dispute under the threat of a new round of tariffs emanating from the Trump administration, and is therefore seeking to find some sort of proposal that Trump will accept and therefore back down on his protectionism against the EU, and Germany in particular.

Politico reports:

Only a week before European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker flies to Washington, France and Germany are divided over how much he should offer to U.S. President Donald Trump to end a deepening trade war, say European diplomats and officials.

But, they add, Germany has the upper hand. Berlin is shaping Juncker’s agenda, suggesting three offers that he could take to Trump on July 25 to resolve the dispute, according to people familiar with the plans.

The French are uneasy about the wisdom of such a conciliatory approach, however, and publicly accuse Trump of seeking to splinter and weaken the 28-member bloc, which he has called his “foe.”

Despite Paris’ reservations about giving away too much to the increasingly hostile U.S. president, the diplomats say that the European Commission’s powerful Secretary-General Martin Selmayr supports the German attempt at rapprochement, which makes it more likely that Juncker will offer some kind of trade fix next week.

“It’s clear that Juncker can’t go to Washington empty-handed,” one diplomat said. He stressed that Juncker’s proposals would be a political signal to Washington and would not be the formal beginning of negotiations, which would have to be approved by EU countries.

European ambassadors will meet on Wednesday to discuss the scope of Juncker’s offer — and indeed whether any offers should be made at all. France’s official position is that Europe must not strike any deal with a gun to its head, or with any country that has opted out of the Paris climate accord, as Trump’s America has done.

While Berlin is terrified by the prospect of 20 percent tariffs on cars and is desperate for a ceasefire deal, France has more fundamental suspicions that the time for compromise is over and that Trump simply wants to destroy EU unity. Paris is concerned that Trump’s next target is its sacred farm sector and is putting more emphasis on the importance of preserving a united political front against Washington.

Two diplomats said Berlin has a broad menu of offers that should be made to Trump: a bilateral deal to cut industrial tariffs, a plurilateral agreement to eliminate car duties worldwide, and a bigger transatlantic trade agreement including regulatory cooperation that potentially also comes with talks on increasing U.S. beef exports into Europe.

Making such generous offers is contentious when Trump crystallized his trade position toward Brussels on CBS news on Sunday: “I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe.”

This undiplomatic bombshell came not long after he reportedly advised French President Emmanuel Macron to quit the EU to get a better trade deal than he was willing to offer the EU28.

In announcing Juncker’s visit on Tuesday, the White House said that he and Trump “will focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership.”

Talking to the enemy

Diplomats note that a French-led camp in Brussels reckons Trump’s goals are strategic, and that he’s not after the sort of deal Germany is offering.

A French government official said that Washington quite simply wants to shift the EU off the stage: “Trump’s objective is that there are two big blocs: The United States and China. A multipower world with Europe as a strong player does not fit in.”

France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire this month also issued a stark warning that Trump is seeking to drive a wedge between France and Germany — courting Paris, while simultaneously attacking Berlin’s trade surplus with the U.S. “In this globalized world, European countries must form a bloc, because what our partners or adversaries want is to divide us,” Le Maire said at an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence. “What the United States want, that’s to divide France and Germany.”

Despite these remarks from Le Maire, Anthony Gardner, former ambassador to the EU under the Barack Obama administration, said that he suspects the full magnitude of the threat has not sunk in. “Europe wake up; the U.S. wants to break up the EU,” he tweeted on Sunday. “Remember Belgium’s motto: L’union fait la force. [Unity creates strength]. Especially on trade. No side deals.”

One EU diplomat insisted that Brussels is not blind to these dangers in the run-up to Juncker’s visit.

Trump thinks that Europe is “too big to be controllable by DC, so it’s bad for America. Simple logic. And therefore the only deal that will bring the president to stop the trade war is the deal that breaks up the European market. I don’t quite think that’s the legacy Juncker is aiming for,” the diplomat said.

Europe is source of a deep frustration for Trump, as it runs a massive goods surplus with the U.S., at $147 billion in 2016. In particular, the U.S. president blames Germany’s mighty car exporters for this imbalance.

Leveling the field is not easy, however. With its market of 510 million consumers, Europe not only has the clout to stand up to the United States, but is increasingly setting global standards — particularly on food. This not only limits U.S. exports in Europe but also means that the European model is used in a broader trading ecosystem that includes Canada, Mexico and Japan.

New world order

Marietje Schaake, a liberal Dutch member of the European Parliament, observed that the U.S. trade strategy meshed with Trump’s political agenda.

“You could say there’s a new transatlantic relation emerging, of nationalists, populists and protectionists,” she said, pointing out that Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin has cast doubt on America’s commitment to supporting European security.

Trump’s opposition to the EU partly builds on an long-standing American discomfort about the EU’s economic policies.

“We already saw problems during the negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, where the U.S. didn’t like EU demands such as on geographical indications [food name protections], and certainly didn’t like that we had ambitious requests in areas like public procurement,” said Pascal Kerneis, managing director of the European Services Forum and a member of the now defunct TTIP advisory group.

Kerneis said that Trump’s trade attacks are shifting the tensions to a completely new level: “He’s attacking on all fronts, hoping to break our unity, particularly between Germany and France.”

France particularly fears that Trump’s duties on Spanish olives could only be the first salvo on Europe’s whole system of farm subsidies.

EU lawmaker Schaake said that France is right to worry about a conflagration. “Once we give in in one area, he will attack at the next one,” she said. “If we allow Trump to play Europeans against each other, sector by sector, it will be a losing game.”

Even if Europe goes about capitulating to Trump’s gripes about the Union, whether it gets back to NATO defense spending or the trade deficit, the question remains whether this will satiate Trump’s political appetite and result in an improved trade perspective and politically acceptable position with Washington, and France’s concern that the matter runs deeper and has a foreign policy agenda behind it, and that caving to Trump’s pressure will only end in defeat for the EU would therefore appear reasonable.

But Germany is staring down the barrel of a possible new round of tariffs that would hurt some of their largest industries and is therefore under a lot of pressure to find a solution, or at least some sort of agreement that could deescalate the situation.

However, Germany’s recent record of resolving international issues is such that Germany is really only scoring cease fire agreements, rather than ending the real political conflicts, referring mainly to the immigration issue which recently resulted only in diffusing some inter Union tensions, but without resolving the problem itself.

In this context, Germany could promise the moon and stars to Trump, possibly avert further trade tensions, but yet fail to address the core political and trade conflicts that have already broken out. Essentially, then, such a compromise would only serve to function as damage control, while leaving Germany and the Union at a further disadvantaged political position relative to the States at the political table.

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